Charles Lloyd

In Europe

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Before his great quartet split at the end of 1968, Charles Lloyd took this band literally to the ends of the earth. As a quartet, they had grown immensely from that first astonishing spark when they toured the summer festivals in 1966. Here they are a seasoned unit, full of nuance, elegance, and many surprises, while having moved their entire musical center over to the pursuit of Lloyd's obsession -- incorporating the music of the East into Western jazz. This show in Norway, which featured the original band of Lloyd on flute and saxes, Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums and percussion, took the idiom begun by John Coltrane and Yusef Lateef and moved it into places even they hadn't imagined. The set starts with "Tagore," a gorgeous flute piece for Lloyd with stunningly ornate percussion from DeJohnette. There is plenty of mystery but there are no edges in this tune, as the two men move from point to counterpoint to mode without seams. Just as quickly, Keith Jarrett enters the picture playing the inside of the piano and a few chords just to lend texture as Lloyd takes it out as softly as he whispered it in. "Karma" is a more conventional piece in that Jarrett creates a gently spiraling harmonic tower for Lloyd to float down from after he climbs it with gorgeous swells and a mournfully beautiful legato. The set ends with "European Fantasy" and "Hej Daj." The first is a slow modal blues, carried out by exquisitely complex harmonics created by Jarrett for both McBee and Lloyd to find their way into. Jarrett gives up nothing in his mystery. Lloyd floats along, touching points here and there before winding it out with the little flute piece at the end, which leaves the audience -- and listeners alike -- stunned.

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